Thanksgiving 2021: Seven Blessings
Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday. For me, it’s the equivalent of the rock garden at Ryoan-ji temple in Kyoto: It encourages us, compels us, to slow down and to look, feel, think, and absorb intently. Ryoan-ji compels us to consider the meaning of life and the richness to be found in simplicity. Thanksgiving compels us to reflect on all the riches we have to be grateful for.
This Thanksgiving in particular, after 22 months of the world being turned upside-down, I have found myself quite simply counting my blessings.
First, all of us at GeoEx are profoundly grateful to you, our steadfast and passionate travelers, who have stayed with us as world events have forced travel plans to change, and who have now begun once again to explore the world with us. You buoy us with your abiding engagement and support, amaze us with your patience, high spirits, and goodwill, and delight us as you excitedly share the worldly riches you are beginning to rediscover. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Second, we recognize that our activities and efforts as individuals and as a company this past year have depended fundamentally on the work of nurses, doctors, and other hospital workers, medical researchers, and essential workers of all kinds, from those who pick up our trash and deliver food and medicine to our doors, to those who staff our markets and pharmacies. We are inexpressibly grateful to all these people who have worked and continue to work tirelessly during a pandemic that has lasted far longer than any of us would have imagined, and whose efforts are slowly enabling us to reconnect with the wider world again.
Third, I am grateful to the GeoEx family, a close-knit group of passionate idealists and wonder-filled wanderlusters, who have continued to work over and above every day, choreographing impossibly complicated travel arrangements and supporting each other through the most challenging times with consistent camaraderie, good humor, and grace.
Fourth, I am grateful that I am about to embark on my first international journey in two years! For the next two weeks, I will be leading GeoEx’s Mexico: Maya Traditions in Chiapas journey with 12 intrepid travelers. To begin, we will be based in San Cristóbal de las Casas, where we’ll savor the cobblestone alleys and cultural treasures, then visit Maya villages, where we’ll learn about religious and artistic traditions. After that, we’ll explore lush landscapes and glorious ruins, including Yaxchilán, Bonampak, and Palenque. I am jumping-out-of-my-seat thrilled at the prospect of venturing into the world again and experiencing the wonders that await.
Fifth, I am grateful that my entire family has been able to spend this Thanksgiving together, and that we are all healthy and in good spirits. Thinking of all those who have lost loved ones and endured enormous sacrifices during this year, I realize how lucky we are, and the rooting, layered meaning of family is more precious than ever to me now.
Sixth, I am especially grateful for the new member of our family, Marvelous Mia Isabelle, who is now seven and a half precocious months old, and who has the purest deep-pool eyes and brightest sparkle-smile this grandpa has ever seen. (And if you’re a grandpa or grandma, I’m sure you know what I mean!) Mia continues to astonish and delight us as she grows from week to week. And when I hold her in my arms, I still feel like I am cradling a miracle, and my sense of reverence for life and connection to the future deepens and expands.
Finally, I am grateful for all the wonderful readers of this blog column, who have generously and enthusiastically shared your thoughts and feelings throughout the year as we have navigated these tempestuous seas together. Your reactions to my words have continually buoyed and inspired me, propelling me to keep exploring and writing, and reminding me why I decided to become a writer in the first place. Your connection gives my journey meaning, map, and fuel.
In this time of Thanksgiving, all of us at GeoEx give deepest thanks to you for your engagement, understanding, and support throughout this year.
As we have been fortunate to do, we hope that you have been able to share this Thanksgiving with people you love, too.
And we hope that you will be able to explore the world with us—on the page and in the field—in 2022!
Yours in abiding wanderlust,
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What are you especially thankful for this year? Please share your blessings with us in the Comments section below. Thank you!